August 25, 2008
TO: Heads of Federal agencies
SUBJECT: Records Storage Facility Standards
EXPIRATION DATE: Expires when revoked or superseded
1. What is the purpose of this bulletin?
a. This bulletin reminds agencies of their obligations to ensure that agency records centers, agency records staging or holding areas, and commercial records storage facilities used to store their agency records meet NARA's records storage facility standards in 36 CFR part 1234. It also provides guidance to assist agencies with obtaining NARA approval as outlined in that subpart. The attachment to this bulletin provides the updated checklist that NARA uses to evaluate facility compliance with the standards. Agencies may use this checklist as a guide for evaluating their own records centers and commercial records facilities for compliance.
b. NARA Bulletin 2005-07, Records Storage Facility Standards, dated September 27, 2005, is canceled.
2. What records storage facilities are covered by the NARA regulations?
The facility standards and approval requirements apply to Government-owned or leased records storage facilities, whether operated by NARA, another agency, or an agency contractor. The regulations also apply to any commercial records center that an agency uses to store its records. Additionally, agency records staging or holding areas within an agency must meet the facility standards.
3. What must agencies do to ensure compliance with the NARA regulations?
a. Agencies must ensure that they have met the facility approval, inspection, and reporting requirements specified in 36 CFR 1234.30 for all storage facilities that currently house their records, and that the requirements are followed whenever the agency acquires or uses new agency storage space or contracted storage services. Please note that agencies do not have to request approval to use NARA records centers.
b. NARA's Space and Security Management Division is separately contacting agency records officers to identify undocumented records storage facilities. Responses will be due to NARA within 60 days of NARA's contact.
4. How will NARA help agencies meet the records storage facility standards?
a. On request, NARA will advise agencies on meeting the standards at agency-operated facilities, including consultation when an agency is planning to build or lease a storage facility for its own use. NARA must approve agency records centers as outlined in 36 CFR 1228.240 (d) before the agency begins to store records in the facility. NARA does not approve commercial facilities; rather, the agency is responsible for inspecting and ensuring that a commercial facility meets the facility standards. NARA's Space and Security Management Division may do spot checks to confirm compliance of agency records center facilities or to validate certifications of commercial facilities.
b. NARA has prepared a Records Storage Facility Standards Toolkit to assist agencies in meeting their reporting requirements. The toolkit is posted at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/storage-standards-toolkit.
5. Whom do I contact for additional information?
a. If you have questions about the standards or the inspection and certification process, contact the Space and Security Management Division office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
b. If you have questions about other applicable NARA regulations when transferring records to a records storage facility:
(1) Contact NARA's Federal Records Center Program at http://www.archives.gov/frc/ concerning transfers to a NARA Federal Records Center.
(2) NARA's Life Cycle Management Division provides assistance and advice to agency records officers in the Washington, DC, area concerning other applicable regulations. Your agency's records officer may contact the NARA appraiser or records analyst with whom your agency normally works. A list of the appraisal and scheduling work groups is posted on the NARA web site at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/appraisal/.
(3) The Records Management staff in NARA's regional offices provides assistance to records officers across the country concerning other applicable regulations. A complete list of NARA regional facilities may be found at http://www.archives.gov/locations/records-management.html.
Archivist of the United States